What is the Perfect Amount of Office Space to Rent?

Give yourself and your staff more elbow room. It’s time to rent a professional office space.
Photo Copyright : Katarzyna Białasiewicz / 123rf.com

Your business is finally taking off! You have several full-time employees. You’re expecting to hire more in the next few years. And you physically can’t work out of your home guest room anymore. After all, the worst thing for a growing company is employees who bump heads because they’re constantly bumping elbows!

Give yourself and your staff more elbow room. It’s time to rent a professional office for your business. But what is the perfect amount of office space to rent? Keep reading for the answer to that question and more.

What are the Legal Office Space Requirements per Person?

In the U.S., there is no legally required minimum of square footage per employee. (However, there are rules about the clearance around work spaces.) Many European countries require a minimum of 40 square feet of work space. That’s enough to enter, work, and exit the space without difficulty. However, this figure does not take into account office common spaces or traffic routes that add to the overall square footage of your office. 

While there are no general laws about work space size in America, there are fire codes and ADA rules about office traffic and accessibility. If you work with any handicapped individuals, the minimum width for hallways and doorways must be 44 inches. Fire codes and the number of exit points within your space can also influence how many people can work there, regardless of the overall square footage of the space.

What is the Average Square Footage of Office Space per Person?

On average, companies should allow 125–225 usable square feet of office space per employee. This figure varies according to the size of your team, the nature of your business, your company culture, how much storage space you need, and any other requirements specific to your particular company.

In 2017, American offices averaged 182 square feet per worker, after years of trending down, according to CoStar

What’s an Easy Way to Calculate Office Space?

There are many office space calculators online designed to help you determine how much space you really need. We like this office space calculator from squarefoot.com. You can choose how spacious you would like your office per employee, plus add spaces for a group kitchen, conference room, and private offices.

Are you thinking about adding more interesting features to your office? Group work areas, mail rooms, file rooms, reception areas, and ADA compliant bathrooms each require their own square footage. Here’s a good guide for how much office space you will need for those features and more.

Don’t forget to account for growth! If you’re signing an office lease, you will likely be in your space for 2–5 years at a minimum. Take a look at your growth plan and build in extra space for additional employees you will need to take on down the line. It will be more economical (and less disruptive to your day-to-day business) to grow into a space rather than moving offices too often. Experts recommend you plan to reach your occupancy limit 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through your lease.

So … How Much Office Space do You Need?

Unfortunately, calculating office space is not an exact science. You may choose to rent a smaller office if it’s in a more prestigious or accessible location. Or you could opt for more space if you need a lot of private rooms or if your company culture calls for more open areas for collaboration. Office space also varies widely by geography (think high rise spaces in downtown areas versus open industrial spaces outside city centers). 

On the plus side, it’s always a benefit to understand your company’s needs, even if it doesn’t translate to a firm square footage number. Your commercial real estate agent will use your full list of needs to help you narrow down your options in your market. Understanding how much office space you need is just one piece of that equation. Floor plan, layout, and budget are also important and will affect your ultimate decision.

Where can You Find an Office the Right Size?

Now that you have a good idea of how much space you need for your office, where do you find it? 

At NAI Beverly-Hanks Commercial, we continually strive to be the best in the business and provide you with the expertise you need to find the perfect office space. Our commercial real estate agents perform not only as experienced brokers, but as experts on property values, marketing strategies, timing considerations, negotiations, and complex transactions.

Contact us today to speak with an NAI Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about renting the perfect office space in Western North Carolina. 

4 Responses to “What is the Perfect Amount of Office Space to Rent?”

  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned that it’s probably more important to understand the companies needs although it might not translate to square footage. The owner of the sweater company I work for is considering looking for rental offices because he noticed the other day that we didn’t have enough space for more inventory and workers. It seems sensible for the owner to consider looking for a reputable space that can properly house both workers and inventory comfortably.

  2. It’s good to know that the office space you’ll choose will have to depend on the location and what you need it for. Personally, I would like to get an office space with free parking and a central location. We want to make sure that our clients can get to the clinic easily without having to worry about parking or directions.

  3. My sister recently opened up her own business a couple of weeks, and she was telling me last night at dinner about how she was wondering what she should add to the breakroom for her staff. I’ll make sure to pass this information along to her so that she can look into getting coffee for her breakroom!

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